Farmers Insurance Rose Bowl Float Features Towering Native-American Chief
This year’s Rose Parade theme is Passport to the World’s Celebrations. “Farmers entry, “Celebrating Our Rich Heritage” honors Native Americans and the contributions they have made to our country,” noted Farmers Insurance CEO Paul Hopkins. “Farmers will be observing its 80th anniversary in 2008 and we recognize the success we have achieved is due to the rich tapestry of cultures America embraces. This is the 49th consecutive year Farmers will be part of this great American tradition.”
True, the chief looked pretty lifelike for a figure made of dead plants. But he was posed like a typical wooden Indian. Indians don't smile, tell jokes, or do a jig, obviously.
Accompanying the Indian were two bears and a cowboy on a horse. I'm not sure what they had to do with celebrating Indians' heritage. I guess they were there to remind us that Indians lived in the Wild West--where buffalo roamed and deer played--before they vanished. Because they certainly didn't tell us that Indians continue to live...in cities...in the East, the South, and the Far West.
It's tough to say which stereotype is bigger: a Plains chief in buckskins and headdress or a Plains warrior with no shirt and a single feather. At least the float didn't include teepees or Indian maidens waving like beauty queens. Thank heaven for small favors.
Below: An illustration of the float. This picture shows the mounted rider as another Indian chief, not a cowboy. I thought I saw a cowboy, but maybe I was mistaken. Or maybe Farmers Insurance changed the float after this illustration was made.